GENERAL Felimon Santos Jr., Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), has assured full support to the families and relatives of four Air Force personnel who died after their UH-1D helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff in Cauayan, Isabela, Thursday night.
In a statement, military spokesperson Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Chief of Staff Gen. Santos Jr. has committed to help facilitate assistance and other entitlements of the gallant Philippine Air Force personnel who died in line-of-duty.
"AFP Santos Jr. expresses deep grief and extends condolences and prayers on behalf of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the families and colleagues of the airmen who perished in this air operations mishap," Arevalo said.
Arevalo said two pilots, another officer, and one of the two aircrew died. One airman survived the crash and is now undergoing treatment.
The Huey Helicopter crashed shortly after take off at around 6:58 p.m. on Thursday in the vicinity of Cauayan City. The five Air Force personnel were conducting proficiency training for night flying when the accident happened.
Meanwhile, PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Aristides Galang said all remaining UH-1D helicopters of the Air Force are on hold status for "thorough inspection" as of their safety procedure.
The (PAF) said all Huey helicopters nationwide have been placed on "on hold order" and will be subjected to stringent maintenance and safety inspections especially as the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
This means the aircraft could still be used for emergency reasons if given clearance. Hueys are among PAF assets critical in the government's COVID-19 pandemic response.